The ATA belt system is an important part of the Taekwondo Dobok (uniform). It is a physical representation of a student’s hard work. All ATA belts should be tied with a square knot around the waist with the ends of the belt hanging evenly in front, this represents: Balance in Mind and Body. Belts should not be mistreated or allowed to lay idly on the floor. This shows disrespect to your hard work.
There are 9 colored belts in Songahm Taekwondo, and each belt is representative of a new phase in the students martial artist growth. Every belt has it’s own meaning specific to the skills developed at each rank. You will notice the recurring theme of pine trees in the belt’s meanings. Songahm itself means Evergreen Strength and the cycle of a pine tree’s growth is used to describe how the Taekwondo Student will develop and grow from White Belt all the way to Black Belt.
A black stripe in the center of a belt indicates a students participation in the Black Belt Club. A gold stripe in the center of a belt indicates a students participation in the Leadership Program.
- White Belt – Pure and without the knowledge of Taekwondo. The white belt comes to the Art with no knowledge and understanding. Pure and innocent.
- Orange Belt – The sun is beginning to rise. As with the morning’s dawn, only the beauty of the sunrise is seen rather than the immense power. With the student’s first testing behind them, they are enthusiastic of their new knowledge, but they are still unaware at the power that comes with their skill.
- Yellow Belt – The seed is beginning to see the sunlight. Growing stronger, the student is learning more techniques, and the power that lies with the knowledge.
- Camouflage Belt – The sapling is hidden amongst the taller pines and must now fight its way upwards. The student has reached the point where sparring is necessary to continue testing for new ranks. He must now fight for the new belt and prove him/herself.
- Green Belt – The Pine Tree is beginning to develop and grow in strength. As an intermediate rank, the student has learned skills and techniques in a more advanced level. Their confidence grows.
- Purple Belt – Coming to the mountain. The tree is in mid-growth and now the path becomes steep. The student is half way to their black belt. They are now expected to step up in leadership positions within the Dojahng(school).
- Blue Belt – The tree reaches for the sky towards new heights. Growing ever stronger, the student has a goal set for black belt. Techniques become more difficult.
- Brown Belt – The tree is firmly rooted in the earth. The student’s skill and confidence is strong.
- Red Belt – The sun is setting. The first phase of growth has been accomplished. The student now wears the final colored belt. The foundation is laid, and the black belt is attainable.
If you have any specific questions about the ATA Belts, or ATA Belt System, please ask your instructor for more information or ask about the American Taekwondo Associations DVD series explaining each belt, its form and more.